Preventing illegal working – new guidance from the UK Border AgencyWednesday, August 25th, 2010
Asylum seekers, refugees and persons with humanitarian protection
To avoid heavy penalties, employers must provide themselves with a statutory “excuse” to use in the event that they employee a migrant worker illegally. This is done by checking and retaining copies of one or more documents, as specified in legislation, provided by the worker. The UK Border Agency website regularly publishes press releases about employers who have illegally employed migrant workers, leaving themselves open to fines of up to £10,000 for each worker.
The UK Border Agency has published new guidance to help UK employers understand the status of asylum seekers, refugees and those with humanitarian protection.
Only a minority of asylum seekers are permitted to work in the UK while awaiting a decision on their claim and their Application Registration Cards are marked accordingly. Such workers may be employed but only if the appropriate procedures are followed and document checks are made, as explained in the guidance.
All asylum seekers who have been granted refugee status or who have been granted humanitarian protection are permitted to work on production of the relevant documents which, in most cases, would need to be rechecked every 12 months.
The guidance includes illustrations of the various documents that may, or may not, be used to confirm the right to work in the UK.
Indefinite leave to remain in an expired passport
The current legislation relating to illegal working, supported by additional guidance published by the UK Border Agency, allows only current valid passports to be accepted by employers of evidence of the right to work.
However, the Agency has announced that, despite the requirements of the legislation, employers may now accept an expired passport that provides the holder with indefinite leave to remain as evidence of the right to work.
An amendment to the legislation is under consideration and new guidance is to be issued in due course.